After an exhausting election, the incoming administration is expected to introduce reforms immediately. But which ones are most urgent? The Spectator asked some of its favourite writers and thinkers to advise the new Prime Minister
Stabilise the economy
The new government now has to move with utmost swiftness to stabilise British public finances, which Gordon Brown has left in a truly abysmal condition.
As the spring auctions begin, it looks as if there’s never been a greater demand for art, says Evgeny Lebedev. But despite a booming market, the art world itself is stagnantIf one was to commission a sculpture that depicted the woeful state of the British art market, then it would be difficult to improve on what Boris Johnson is proposing for the London Olympics. The Mayor’s venture represents the fusion of everything that is wrong with the system: a steel billionaire, a £19 million price-tag, a world-famous artist and 1,400 tons of metal in the shape of crashed pylons.
Polio vaccines in Nigeria are part of a Western plot to make African women infertile. Foreign zombies are replacing indigenous labourers in South Africa. Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is a secret Muslim who hates the United States and wants to institute ‘death panels’ to govern the healthcare system. The United States triggered the earthquake in Haiti to expand America’s imperial reach. These are just a small slice of the conspiracy theories floating around the global ether of rumour and innuendo.
It’s time to drop the myth of Lord Mandelson as a political genius, says Stephen Pollard. No one has done more to wreck the Labour partyWhatever the election result, one thing is sure: industrial quantities of obloquy will be heaped on Gordon Brown as the man responsible for Labour’s result. But if the party is after the real villain of the piece, it is looking in the wrong place.Mr Brown was, it was clear from the start, never suitable for the job of Prime Minister.
Did you vote for change, then? Or did you, as David Cameron put it during the second of those frigid televised leaders’ debates, vote for ‘hope, not fear’? I decided in the end to vote for fear, as I’ve never been very keen on hope. I think hope is overrated, if we’re honest, whereas there is a dark, brooding intensity to fear. But change? Some things will change, I suppose, but a lot of the things which make people angry will not change at all, the sort of stuff that was rarely if ever mentioned during the election campaign, but which we know thoroughly annoys many people.
The holiday season is upon us, but it’s nothing to celebrate, says Lloyd Evans. Tourism is torture, no matter how you do it Oh God. Here it comes again. The days lengthen, the temperature climbs, the pollen spreads and the mighty armies of foreign invaders prepare to make their move. It’s not illegal immigrants who cause my heart to sink at this time of year. Those brave defectors deserve our admiration for their persistence and ingenuity.